AWS re:Invent 2018 Recap – Times…they a̶r̶e̶ have a̶ Changi̶n̶g̶ed!

I wrote this sitting in the Qantas Lounge in Melbourne waiting for the last leg back to Perth after spending the week in Las Vegas at AWS re:Invent 2018. I had fifteen hours on the LAX to MEL leg and before that flight took off, I struck up a conversation (something I never usually do on flights) with a guy in the seat next to me. He noticed my 2017 AWS re:Invent jumper (which is 100x better than the 2018 version) and asked me if had attended re:Invent.

It ended up that he worked for a San Francisco based company that wrote middleware integration for Salesforce. After a little bit of small talk, we got into some deep technical discussions about the announcements and around what we did in our day to day roles. Though I shouldn’t have been surprised, just as I had never heard of his company, he had never heard of Veeam…ironically he was from Russia and now working in Melbourne.

The fact he hadn’t heard of Veeam in its self wasn’t the most surprising part…it was the fact that he claimed to be a DevOps engineer. But had never touched any piece of VMware software or virtualisation infrastructure. His day to day was exclusively working with AWS web technologies. He wasn’t young…maybe early 40s…this to me seemed strange in itself.

He worked exclusively around APIs using AWS API Gateway, CloudFormations and other technologies but also used Nginx for reverse proxy purposes. That got me thinking that the web application developers of today are far far different to those that I used to work with in the early 2000’s and 2010’s. I come from the world of LAMP and .NET applications platforms…I stopped working on web and hosting technologies around the time Nginx was becoming popular.

I can still hold a conversion (and we did have a great exchange around how he DevOp’ed his applications) around the base frameworks of applications and components that go into making a web application work…but they are very very different from the web applications I used to architect and support on Windows and Linux.

All In on AWS!

The other interesting thing from the conversation was that his Technical Director commands the exclusive use of AWS services. Nothing outside of the service catalog on the AWS Console. That to me was amazing in itself. I started to talk to him about automation and orchestration tools and I mentioned that i’d been using Terraform of late…he had never used it himself. He asked me about it and in this case I was the one telling him how it worked! That at least made me feel somewhat not totally dated and past it!

My takeaway from the conversation plus what I experienced at re:Invent was that there is a strong, established sector of the IT industry that AWS has created, nurtured and is now helping to flourish. This isn’t a change or die message…this is simply my own realisation that the times have changed and as a technologist in the the industry I owe it to myself to make sure I am aware of how AWS has shifted web and application development from what I (and from my assumption the majority of those reading this post) perceive to be mainstream.

That said, just like the fact that a hybrid approach to infrastructure has solidified as the accepted hosting model for applications, so to the fact that in the application world there will still be a combination of the old and new. The biggest difference is that more than ever…these worlds are colliding…and that is something that shouldn’t be ignored!

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